Edo 2020: Yiaga Africa Wants INEC to be Transparent

Edo 2020: Yiaga Africa Wants INEC to be Transparent

…As Wike Urges Buhari to make Election a Model …Oshiomhole Calls for Peaceful Election Yiaga Africa has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to be strictly guided by professionalism, transparency and openness, in the conduct of the Edo State governorship election, slated for Saturday, September 19, 2020. It also pleads with the electorate

…As Wike Urges Buhari to make Election a Model

…Oshiomhole Calls for Peaceful Election

Yiaga Africa has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to be strictly guided by professionalism, transparency and openness, in the conduct of the Edo State governorship election, slated for Saturday, September 19, 2020. It also pleads with the electorate to reject any guises of the political parties at vote buying. This is coming on the backdrop of a similar call by the Rivers State Governor, Mr Nyesom Wike who has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to make the election a model to instil hope in the country’s electoral process.

Explaining its pre-election findings on its Watching the Vote campaign at a press briefing in Benin City, the Edo State capital on Thursday, Yiaga also wants INEC to ensure strict compliance with the electoral laws and guidelines in administering the election amidst the COVID-19 pandemic while pleading with polling officials to enforce the use of facemasks.

“INEC must show utmost professionalism in election administration and ensure timely, effective, and secure deployment of its staff, materials (sensitive and non-sensitive), and other resources needed for the election to enable early commencement of polls.

“We urge INEC to ensure transparency and openness in the management of cancellation of votes and determination of the margin of lead in line with extant electoral laws. Uniformity of processes and consistency in applying its guidelines should be maintained across all polling units and LGAs.

“INEC should ensure proper coordination with security agencies for the effectiveness and safety of personnel and materials deployment. This includes ensuring the safe delivery of personnel and materials after the election,” the organisation says, in a statement signed by Dr. Aisha Abdullahi Chair, Yiaga Africa Watching the Vote – 2020 Edo Election Observation Mission and Mr Samson Itodo, executive director.

It also urges INEC ad hoc staff to ensure that polling units are located in areas accessible to all voters, especially persons living with disabilities (PWDs), in order not to disproportionately disenfranchise voters or limit their rights to participation.

Yiaga asks security agencies “ to maintain the utmost levels of neutrality and professionalism in enforcing election day security. They must respect the law and citizen’s constitutional and civic rights and refrain from excessive force.

“There should be proper coordination between all the security agencies deployed for the election; proper communication lines and engagement rules should be strictly adhered to. Deployment of personnel and logistics should be all-round and not restricted to certain parts of the state.

“Early warning signs of election violence should be addressed by relevant security agencies

to avoid escalation or spill over on election day. These issues should be addressed in a professional and civil manner.

“Security agencies should ensure protection for vulnerable voters, especially women and persons with disabilities. Security personnel should enforce appropriate sanctions for any form of violation of the right to vote,” the organisation counsel.

It appeals to political parties, candidates, and their supporters to show commitment to electoral accountability by respecting the rules governing the conduct of the elections and refrain from employing violence to win the election at all cost.

“Parties should continue to call on their supporters to shun every form of violence. Political parties, candidates, and supporters should continue to abide by the spirit and letter of the Edo State Peace Accord signed on Tuesday, September 15, 2020. Parties should undertake massive sensitization of their supporters on the elections’ guidelines, especially on the margin of lead principle and the constitutional requirement for determining a winner of an election.

“Political parties, candidates, and their supporters must refrain from vote-buying and the related practice of compromising the ballot’s secrecy so that the voters of Edo state are free to vote their preference for governor,” it says.

Yiaga admonishes voters to show up at the polling unit and cast their votes in a peaceful manner since according to it, “Elections are decided by those who come out to vote.”

It particularly wants voters to hold the political parties and candidates to account for their commitment to the peace accord, adding that “Any party or candidate who defaults in upholding the peace accord is unworthy of public trust.”

“Voters should adhere to COVID-19 public health protocols and INEC’s voters’ code of conduct for elections during the COVID-19 pandemic. Voters should go to their polling units wearing their facemasks, practice physical distancing and frequent washing of hands, or use hand sanitizers.

“Voters should reject efforts by political parties to buy their votes. Remember to uphold the secrecy of the ballot and be guided by conscience as they cast their vote. Communities are encouraged not to engage in collusion and should let members of the community vote for whichever candidate they prefer,” Yiaga stated…

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to use the Edo Governorship election as a model to create hope in the electoral process.

According to a statement by Mr Paulinus Nsirim, Commissioner for Information and Communications, in Port Harcourt, Wike, also chairman, People’s Democratic Party (PDP), National Campaign Council for the Edo election, made the appeal during a Live Television Programme in Port Harcourt.

He stated that the outcome of the election would provide hope for the general elections of 2023.

“Let everyone that loves this country ensures that the September 19, 2020 election is credible, free and fair.

“The Police and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should show Nigerians that they can support credible elections.

“INEC should ensure that result sheets are not in the hands of individuals. Security Agencies should not whisk away collation officers and later bring them back with cooked results.

“Complete manipulation of the electoral process causes violence. No politician will cause violence if the Police and INEC do not compromise,’’ it stated.

According to Wike, there will be a high turnout of voters on Saturday because the people of Edo are prepared to put an end to “godfatherism’’.

He said that he carried out an independent assessment of Governor Godwin Obaseki’s achievements and was quite satisfied that he would win the election convincingly.

The Governor, who stated that no amount of money or intimidation would make the people of Edo not to vote massively for Obaseki, urged the people to be vigilant and protect their votes so that their will would not be truncated.

He also alleged that “the agenda of the All Progressives Congress (APC), is to win at all cost for us to go to the tribunal’’.

The Governor also commended the United States (U.S.) and the United Kingdom for reportedly placing Visa ban on election riggers in the country.

“They should go ahead and publish their names so that a lot of things will change in our electoral process.

“Election rigging is worse than armed robbery. So whatever sanctions that can be imposed will be highly welcomed by the PDP,’’ the statement added.

While also calling for peaceful election, former APC Chairman, Mr Adams Oshiomole who did a recap of his sour relationship with Governor Obaseki and his projects conclude he has failed in living up to the wishes and aspirations of the people.

Oshiomhole, also former Governor of Edo state asked the electorate to vote wisely for his godson and Candidate of the APC, Mr Osagie Ize Iyamu.  

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